Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Real Possession

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 12:13-21. 
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” 
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable. 
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. 
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. 
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

After I read the Gospel one thing entered my mind. The greed that Jesus warned us about is not in material possessions today. Rather it is in the greed with which we possess ourselves. People often say that millennials (those aged 18-34 back in 2015) are too self-absorbed, too narcissistic, too involved in their own dreams. Fight over property among siblings has been happening since Jesus’ times until today but the greed with which people are willing to kill their brothers and sisters are taking on more vicious forms. Today, we are willing to kill for our self-image.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the symptoms of narcissism among millennials and the youth in general. Our social media posts are filled with ‘me’ and ‘what I do’. It’s all about self-promotion. Although it has its own merits (most people are on social networks to share their lives with those they love and care) but most are already aware of the temptation to self-promotion. Don’t we always want to show the best angle, the best shot, the best photos, the best moments? Don’t we feel a tinge of jealousy while browsing over our friends’ posts in our news feeds? And don’t we feel that urge to post something better or to be cynical about the good fortunes of others?

While it is certainly not categorically bad to post something about yourself online, there are areas in our online life that we need to examine more closely. There are behaviors that tell-tale signs of greed for attention and pride of life. This is the hoarding that Jesus spoke of in the Gospel. We hoard likes and views. Our hearts swell when the comments pile up. Jesus’ warning remains true today: one’s life does not consist of possessions. Sadly we possess everything today, including our profile page.

Rather we invited to value things that matter most – family, friends, being kind to everyone. Yet above all, we have to value the treasure of life – God Himself. Without God, there is no real life. He is all that matters in this life. Our fortunes come and go. Experiences and memories come and fade away. As the first reading would say, ‘everything is vanity’ (Ecc 1:2). Even our online life would fade away. No one would care to browse your profile page a hundred years from now. Real and true life comes from a personal relationship with Jesus. After all, for him, you are all that matters.


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